Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday took a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari over his refusal to sign the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) agreement, saying the President’s hand is too weak to sign and that country will soon have a president that will sign the agreement.
Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo
He spoke at the Afrexim Bank’s annual Babacar Ndiaye lecture held in Bali Indonesia.
Also speaking at the lecture, Nobel Prize winning economist, Jeffrey Sachs called on African leaders to team up and create African Education fund that will be devoted to ensuring quality free education for every African child.
Speaking on the theme of the lecture, Global Power Disequilibrium, Trade Wars and Implications for Africa, Obasanjo stressed that AfCTA is good for African countries assuring that Nigeria will soon sign the agreement.
He said: “Africa cannot overcome fears of trade wars till it achieves 50 percent intra-Africa trade. We now have the Continental Free Trade Agreement which is a good idea and I can assure that Nigeria will soon sign.
“Hopefully we will soon have a president who will be able to sign because the president that is there now, his hands are too weak to sign.”
“Africa should not be seen as one country, but one market and that is very important. I believe that the political will of our leaders that are there now will get them to move along.
“The future of African trade and effectiveness of policies to achieve macroeconomic stability in Africa will largely depend on the strength and resilience of Africa-South trade. Accelerating the process of industrialisation and transformation of African economies we must add value to our commodities. And it is in adding value to our commodities that our industrialisation begins. This is nicely laid out in the African Union agenda.
“Boosting intra-African trade and boosting the process of regional integration and the AfCTA, the agreement which was signed in March this year. This is something we have all been working to and it came up only last March in Kigali. It is something I believe is good for all African countries, particularly for small countries in the continent who need protection and who also need to enjoy the advantage of economies of scale.
“As part of the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade area agreement, the bank in partnership with the African Union will be organizing later this year, December 11 to 17 2018, in Cairo, Egypt, the first ever intra-African trade fair which will connect buyers and sellers to bridge trade information gaps and accelerate the growth of intra-African trade and transformation of African economies.